EDITOR, The Tribune.
Pierre Dupuch is a likeable enough grouser who tries to dispatch folksy opinions that in his mind reflect a point of wisdom, but to the thinking community come across as misinformed at best.
His latest diatribe is a missive aimed at the universally accepted principle of majority rule. But because his mind is perhaps sometimes in another universe he misses this point entirely.
Majority rule does not, as he would have us believe, mean that the racial make-up of the majority will always offer up leaders of the same hue. The definition of majority rule is simple and straightforward – the greater number should exercise greater power.
That is what was achieved on majority rule day. It was not the coronation of a black king and a decree that henceforth only black people need apply for serious leadership jobs in government.
In fact, the time will come when the majority in this country may very well settle on a non-black Bahamian to lead us. If that person inspires us with his or her character, vision and policies he or she will rise to the top.
That, Mr Dupuch, is what happened in the United States when they elected Barack Obama as President. The majority of Americans voted for him. Not the majority of white Americans, but the majority of them all.
Likewise, we know that black people in The Bahamas regularly vote for white candidates from their party and vice versa. In fact, one of the favourable attributes of the FNM and the PLP is that they regularly attract voters from all races.
Our laws stipulate that whenever the majority acts on something they speak for all of us. Foolish is the politician who tries to win a majority of votes in any election by concentrating only on the race of the electorate.
It is accepted that if white Bahamians don’t get involved in the political process then they stand zero chance of being elected by the majority of voters.
Furthermore, it seems reasonable and natural that in a country where 85 per cent of the population is of a certain colour that the make-up of their elected parliament would reflect that reality. There are people of many races in the American Congress but would it not be passing strange if the great majority of the Congress were black?
We celebrate majority rule day, not only as the day that a majority black government won power, but rather as a day when everybody got a chance to have their vote counted and when that majority chose the people they thought best able to represent them.
Mr Dupuch accuses others of telling lies about this matter then he comes up with this whopper: “In November 1962, the Majority of Bahamians voted and overwhelmingly the Majority of them voted for the UBP!”
I would not be so ungracious as to call that a lie but Mr Dupuch, who was a candidate in that election, knows that it is not the truth. The truth is that the PLP got more votes than the UBP in that election but still lost. The UBP got 26,500 votes which produced for them 18 seats in the House of Assembly. The PLP got 32,261 votes but only eight seats! One Labour and six Independents were also elected.
While there was universal adult suffrage in the Bahamas for the first time in 1962 the UBP still frustrated the will of the majority and maintained control by ruthlessly and shamelessly gerrymandering the electoral districts.
If a white Bahamian were leading the PLP on January 10, 1967, the day would still live on in history as majority rule day for that was when a majority of all citizens, in a free expression of national will finally wrested control of the government from an entrenched racist oligarchy and levelled the playing field for Bahamians of all races and backgrounds.
Mr Dupuch’s blatant attempt at historical revisionism is easily dispensed with.
May 9, 2018.